ES6 (ES2015) and Beyond with Node.js


# initialize
npm init -y

# install dependencies
npm i -D babel-cli babel-preset-es2015 babel-preset-stage-0 nodemon

# Babel config
touch .babelrc
echo '{ presets: [ "es2015", "stage-0" ] }' >> .babelrc

# directory structure
# mkdir src && touch src/index.js
# add some es6 code to index.js for testing

# run Babel
babel-node src/index.js

# add npm run scripts

Note: For the sake of simplicity, i use ES6 and ES2015 interchangeably. Both mean the same thing to me, though technically it should be called ES2015, that’s the official version name.

install dependencies

install Babel for code transpilation, a babel preset for ES2015, and nodemon for monitoring file changes

npm i -D babel-cli babel-preset-es2015 nodemon

babel configuration

create a Babel configuration file called .babelrc, and add your presets to it

nano .bablerc
  presets: [ "es2015" ]

boilerplate code for testing

test with some ES2015 code

// path: src/index.js
import { createServer } from 'http' // ES6 named import instead of require()
createServer((req, res) => { // ES6 arrow function
  res.writeHead(200, { 'Content-Type': 'text/plain' })
  res.end('Hello World \n')
}).listen(3000, '')

console.log(`Server running at`)

run babel

You can either transpile directly with the command babel-node src/index.js or add an npm run script to run babel

"scripts": {
  "dev": "babel-node src/index.js"
npm run dev

bring in nodemon

"scripts": {
  "dev": "nodemon --exec babel-node src/index.js"

Now nodemon will watch your files and if anything changes execute the babel-node command specified

Babel for production

The is all good for development. But babel-node isn’t meant to be used in production. We can add scripts though so it builds the code for production. The scripts will transpile our code and

"scripts": {
   "dev": "nodemon --exec babel-node src/index.js",
   "prestart": "babel src --out-dir dist",
   "start": "node dist/index.js"

If we call our script prestart, npm will automatically run it every time we run start, it’ll run prestart first.

Also, add the dist directory to .gitignore so we are never checking in generated code, because we don’t need to.

echo 'dist' >> .gitignore

We can watch the whole folder, like so:

"dev": "NODE_ENV=development nodemon -w src --exec \"babel-node src --presets=es2015,stage-0\""